Film Developing Made Easier

Film developing and making your own prints is part of the last stage of any photographic process. Knowing how to mix chemicals properly does take practice and precaution when your working with chemicals. Classes can go a long way to give you that extra photography help. Know the steps to take and when to add certain chemicals, like the fixer. Also, be sure to know how long you can keep the chemical for.

Baths and Processing

Baths are the technical term for rinsing and processing prints. Fixer can be reused; this is one chemical that has a capacity instead of a shelf life. A simple hypo-check solution can be used to test the fixer to make sure it's still good. You can also just cut up a sheet of photo paper into tiny strips and place them in the fixer. If it takes longer then a minute and half to process, you should propably toss the fixer.

You can use regular tap water for the stop-baths. When working on a budget, saving every penny helps in the long run. This is where making contact sheets of all your prints is handy to have so you only spend resources on prints through which you want to showcase your work. The following steps are taken when processing prints; consult your time charts for proper developing.

  1. Develop your film; make sure your in a dark room (with no light of any kind) before opening your film canister. Once your film is threaded and inside, the developer can add the proper developer and set your timer.
  2. Once film is dry and developed, make a contact sheet of all your prints. Place your negatives, cut into manageable strips, inside an archival storage page.
  3. Set up your negatives on a piece of photo paper under the enlarger and turn on the light, setting it with a timer.
  4. Place in the developer tray and set your timer again
  5. Place in the fixer tray and set your timer again.
  6. Lastly, place them in the stop bath and set your timer again; once the timer is done, you can hang your prints from a simple string line to dry.

Shelf Life and Chemistry

Chemicals do have self lives, meaning that you can only store them for so long. Developer is one of those chemicals that will oxidize very quickly if improperly misused. When making developer from a powder, you want to take care to stir the solution instead of shaking a bottle. Shaking anything will add more air to the mixture, and in theory, reduce the life of the developer.

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